Some more photos from our Spring Break trip to the Northwest.
It seems like it takes as many days to catch up from a vacation as the number of days you spend away. The importance of getting away from daily routines, no matter how long or far you travel to escape them, seems like a necessity more than ever, but I’ll admit – it’s disruptive in the sense that I always underestimate how easy it’ll be to swing right back into things. A week in and I still feel “off”.
But I suppose that’s the idea of a vacation, right? You don’t come back quite the same. A good vacation is returning to the more mundane and tedious aspects of daily life with a fresh perspective. Or one would hope. But it also takes work because it’s easy to slip back into the nonsense that you needed a break from in the first place.
These days, I feel like I’m walking a bit on egg shells. Emotions are unpredictable. It’ll be the one year anniversary of my brother’s death in 6 weeks, but the months proceeding that day were also difficult times. I’m reminded of this everyday lately. Certain dates are burned into my head and I check them off one by one as we pass them on the calendar, exhaling with relief to have gotten past them. But almost a year later, “moving on” hasn’t been possible for a few specific reasons that I can’t talk about. I just want that part to be over; I never thought I would find myself here. But that’s how life often works, isn’t it? It can veer down a path and fling you so far off from where you thought you’d be. How we deal with the cards we’re dealt with is up to each one of us. But I’ll survive because I’m a survivor.
It’s almost midnight. Another birthday, another milestone to check off the calendar. I’m secretly happy that my birthday doesn’t fall on a day where I’m in the office – not because I wouldn’t like to spend it with the people I work with work – I would. But I want to spend it alone more. Does that make my transformation into an old lady, complete? I’m close! I can feel it! But 6 hours alone before the girls get home sounds like the perfect way to spend a birthday to me. Because then there will be dinner and cards and cake (Miss C made me fill out a cake survey the other day) and let’s face it, celebrating our birthdays is just as much for them as it is for us at this point, am I right? I can already tell…I’ll miss it when the kids are gone.
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Seattle in April, instead of August. When we arrived, it was all budding trees and cherry blossoms, fields of tulips and other Spring flowers. The NW always blooms a bit earlier than NY, but because of an unusually warm Winter, everything came up early this year. Lucky us. We got to see the Tulip Festival an hour North of Seattle in Skagit Valley, something we wouldn’t normally see since our yearly trips to the NW usually come in August. We’ve seen photos of the tulips fields from local Washington friends who visit yearly, but there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself. Driving in the car, approaching the farms, you can see the variegated strips of color from the distance. The yellow tulips almost glow from afar.
The tulip fields are spread out in the valley nestled between farm stands and other agricultural fields. Roozengaarde is the most “commercial” of the fields in that there is a small entry fee to get in, while the others are literally right off the road. The tulip and daffodil fields were a bit past peak when we visited, but the display garden, while landscaped, was worth the price to see all the varieties and colors of tulips.
It was also fun to see different flowers at all the farmer’s markets including Pike Place since we’re usually treated to dahlias in August; this year we saw tulips, daffodils, and lilacs. We haven’t been to the NW in Springtime since we lived there in the 90s, so it was refreshing to come during a different season to remind ourselves what Washington is like at a different time of year other than Summer. Thanks for a Spring preview, Washington. Can’t wait for NYC to catch up with all its flowers and blooms.
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Spring is in the air, in more ways than just the weather. There have been some extraordinary developments, both positive and negative, in the last week that has me wondering how much a person can process in such a short amount of time. It’s amazing to see the human psyche at work; for example, I suppose our brains shut down in denial after trauma to protect our bodies and our hearts from initial shock. It’s only after some time has passed that the emotions truly manifest themselves.
At least that’s my theory this week.
I’ve also been thinking recently about the role models we become for our children. I can’t say for certain that we’re setting the best examples in all areas, however, I can assume that we’re teaching the kids what a good work ethic is. But I don’t want them to grow up with the idea that work is everything in life either, and maybe we’re coming up short here. While hard work and the ability to support yourself and your family is important, I want them to see that it’s equally important to pursue enough paths that bring you joy in life, even if that sometimes means sacrificing what appears to be the more responsible path.
More fun in life. That’s the plan. It might sometimes be a struggle to get there because work and business calls, but there’s something to be said about recognizing burnout and doing something about it.
In a week I hope to show you photos from tulip fields. Happy Easter, my friends.
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March is a funny month, isn’t it? Neither winter, nor Spring – just a whole lot of in between. The days creep along in anticipation and promise of Spring, but it never quite delivers. The shift in the light when we turn our clocks forward for Daylight Savings seems to happen quite suddenly and when 7PM rolls around, the light that lingers is a bit disorienting as we adjust our own internal clocks to the seasonal change. But what bliss it is to commute home while there’s still daylight out!
March also feels like a reality check. We can no longer say that it’s the new year and push things off because we still “have time”. No, we’re fully entrenched in 2015 and time is subtly pressuring us to push forward and face our new year goals (if you made them) before it gets too late. I don’t know about you, but this is how I’m feeling these days – slightly pressured by the calendar over here – and there is so much that we need to do.
March is also one of the slowest months of the business for us. It never fails when the month rolls around to start questioning everything (the one exception being last March when sales went gangbusters for a few reasons). For the most part though, we expect it, brace ourselves for it, and we plan for it, but it still doesn’t take the edge off whenever March rolls around.
The girls and I found ourselves near Greenwood Cemetery a few weeks ago at the start of the month and decided to take a quick walk. Even though much of the snow had melted from the city sidewalks, it remained a few inches thick on the grassy hills of the cemetery. It was a jarring juxtaposition entering the gates and seeing snow again when our eyes were finally adjusting to the piles melting and gone from the sidewalks. It was a nice walk, albeit a bit cold that day, and there wasn’t anyone there (as is often the case), so it was quiet. I’ve always loved Greenwood for its history, the monuments, and the narrow cobblestone walkways. I always wondered what it looked like in the snow. As the girls wandered around, crunching snow from their boots and picking up sticks, I walked by myself some yards behind them enjoying the quiet. The snow was blinding as the sun reflected off the ground; the sky was a brilliant blue. I wasn’t sure how I would feel walking through a cemetery now that these places have more meaning for me, but I didn’t really feel anything. Maybe the cold just numbed my thoughts.
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With the weather being so cold during February, we’ve been mostly hibernating inside on Sundays instead of venturing out on weekend outings. This means Sundays have often been filled with cooking projects which often start at our neighborhood farmer’s market in the morning and end with the girls helping out in the kitchen. You may have seen the photos of some of these Sunday cooking projects on Instagram. The kids really enjoy cooking with Mark and have become pretty good prep cooks now that they’re old enough to handle knives and other tools. They even made pancakes one Sunday entirely on their own after Mark pulled out the ingredients for them on the kitchen counter. Since they’ve always been early risers, most mornings I’ll find that they’ve already eaten breakfast by the time I get up. The joys of having older kids.
This Sunday we’re letting out a sigh of relief. The sun was out and the forecast calls for temps in the upper 40s and even in the 50s for as far as we could see on the calendar. We might have finally turned a corner and it may be premature to call it, but I think we can finally put the worst of winter behind us. After the last storm on Thursday that blindsided us with more snow than we expected, we’re cheering this warmer weather on. After you’ve endured record low temps in the 20s for weeks on end, 45 degrees feels like Spring. It was a relief to see the sun work its magic on the curbside snow piles. Good bye, Winter!
I’ve been thinking a lot about travel again. It’s gotten a little trickier now that I have a job I commute to 3 days a week, but day dreaming about places we want to go and working out the details of our trips this year got us through the worst bouts of cabin fever. We can hardly wait to go on adventures this year and the girls have been waiting patiently in particular for an upcoming summer trip that’s been in the works for nearly 2 years. Having things to look forward to – that’s what we try to focus on. Sometimes it felt like it was the only thing I had to get through some dark and confusing times this winter. Watching the snow melt from rooftops and into puddles of dripping water remind us that seasons do turn over eventually. Those glimmers of change propel us forward.
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